For malignant mesothelioma, a very rare cancer, the path ahead involves crucial decisions, that you, the patient, must be comfortable with. There are many factors to be considered. Each of us is our own unique person and must factor in how we approach this life-threatening cancer.
One of the factors that we see as very important is experience. Experience as defined by the Merriam
Webster Dictionary ” direct observation of or participate in events as a basis of knowledge, the fact or state of having been affected by or gain knowledge through direct observation or participation.” Seek out someone who has experience, who works with other people that have experience in their area of expertise. It takes a team approach of experienced professionals to recommend the treatment options that are going to give you the best chance at long term survival.
Experience is an asset that has immeasurable value. Experience might start with a text book, but comes with being at the side of a patient. It includes learning to deal with each unique person and their issues, by seeing common ground with other patients. Patient A might have epithelioid pleural mesothelioma and have a very extensive support network. Patient B might have epithelioid pleural mesothelioma and not have a support network, be far from home, and be dealing with family issues before the diagnosis. Experience enables the team to tailor their approach for what is going to be the most beneficial for the patient.
It is estimated that the average Primary Care MD across the United States sees 1-2 patients with mesothelioma in their careers. How can they be expected to know the latest research, on this rare cancer?
The choice of how you treat your mesothelioma diagnosis is yours. When weighing your options include how much experience your medical team has as a factor in your search. We have seen patients who thought they did not have options, find that in the hands of an experienced mesothelioma MD, that they had options and treatments available to them.